Tuesday, 8 November 2011

I keep thinking about the nurse.

Last week, I was driving up Leura Mall and the battered car in front of me suddenly screeched to a halt and parked, right in the middle of the road. I thought, what the hell? And watched as a harried, annoyed woman got out and marched over to the pavement.

I sat there, amused, as all these cars banked up behind me. Someone honked, further back.

I watched this woman run up to a frail old man, scoop him into her arms, and gently but firmly lead him back towards her car.

In an instant I realised what happened - she was a nurse at the local aged care facility just down the road, and the guy was going for a walk when he shouldn't have been.

I looked at her car again, it had some faded stickers, and was quite old. She would probably rather be anywhere else in the world than holding up traffic one spring afternoon, at the risk of pissing off all the cars behind her. She probably works really hard for shitty wages. She hesitantly looked up at me, and I smiled my biggest warmest smile. I wanted my smile to say, "It's ok! Don't worry ... and you're doing a great job!"

She smiled back, really grateful that I didn't have my cranky pants on.

The old guy, trying to make a move .. I would run away too, if I was locked up in a home. He shuffled out and slowly eased himself down into the car. I wondered what kind of life he had lived until that point, all the things he'd seen and done.

I hope he'd had a good one.

I keep thinking about it. How we all have a shared humanity .. a social responsibility to each other. We are all the nurse. We are all the old guy. We are all the people waiting in the cars, needing to have compassion.



  1. What a beautiful perspective. I suspect that your smile made the job of the nurse much easier that day. What a hard job that must be. One that I am certainly not strong enough for.

  2. thank you for this. xo, alisha: er nurse

  3. What beautiful imagery Eden. I'm so glad that it was you in the car behind to give her that smile and not a grumpy business man/P Plater/ *insert stereotype here*.
    There seem to be so many jobs like that (teachers, social workers, etc) that require so much patience, dedication, compassion, and nearly all of us will be in need of the services that they provide at one stage or another of our lives, and yet we don't appreciate them nearly enough as a society. We might all appreciate them on some level, but society as a whole doesn't, at least not financially. It just doesn't seem right.

  4. And if we all felt more compassionately and thought more empathically as you, then humanity might be less of a burden to share.

  5. I do not understand how some people could see something like that and get the shits. Great post xx

  6. I am sick of the selfish world.

    It's so destructive. Devastating our souls for nothing and no-one. It seems to be all Me, Me and Me these days.

    It needs to be us and all and everyone, not climb to the top and look down to see the rest of humanity shattered and broken. Where is the worlds unity gone. You can be anything these days, at the expense of your integrity and compassion, all for fame and power.... success. So hollow.

    We should be all carers of each other, and I so wish people had way more compassion....

  7. Beautifully put.
    What is so absolutely important that we have to virtually step over people on the roadside to get to??
    Communities are dying, man.
    'Cause nobody gives a crap.
    Thanks for giving a crap.

  8. beautiful words to finish your post. Thankyou for being that rare person that smiled rather than put on the crankypants that people seem to don so readily without pausing for thought xx

  9. i work in aged care, have done for 3 years now and yes it's rewarding work but our industry has such a high turn over because for what we do [like SO many other jobs] we get paid pretty shitty.

    you have to love this line of work to work in it for an extended period of time [yes 3 years is considered an extended period of time, such is our high turn over rate] and you also have to have the patience of a saint at times.

    it's sad when you come across some elderly who are a shadow of their former self and you do wonder what their life was like before this point.

    i don't blame him for doing a runner from the home either - i've worked in residential care, couldn't do it again, it's soul destroying and they simply never have enough staff to provide the one on one care that the residents not only need but deserve.

    thank you for smiling at her, for not having your ranty pants on - as her smile showed, she would have been so grateful.

    thanks for sharing.


  10. My Grandad is that man very often.
    Thank you, this was beautiful x

  11. Wow. I can honestly say this is the most beautiful post I have ever read. Thank you for this!

  12. In recent months I keep thinking about one of the biggest highlights of my year as a kid used to be when, as a brownie, we used to go around the local retirement village/nursing home singing Christmas Carols. It was HUGE!

    In the last few years I have lost my FIL and 2 of my grandparents. I didn't spend much time with my Pop as he had declined mentally over many years and I couldn't stand to see him like that. He didn't remember my mum the last time she went. And I wonder, who did go and see him? I feel bad because I don't know.

    I want to get involved in something with Miss 5 where we can give back to the oldies, make their days a little brighter. If anyone has any ideas, can you let me know?

  13. You saw her and I think that's important. You acknowledged with your smile and attention that what she did mattered.

  14. I just love this.
    More respect all around is definitely needed in this day and age. People are far too self obsessed and concered about what THEY are entitled to.

  15. Beautiful. That's all I have to say.

  16. If only, my friend. And bags being the nurse. x

  17. Beautiful post. Thank you

  18. I'm thinking shared humanity is the new evolution. And your smile is proof you're evolving with humanity. And your writing about it helps the rest of us evolve, too. :)

  19. Beautiful post , I imagine it saved a family a lot of heartache that she found him ok too. Your smile would have made her day.

  20. I'm an ER nurse and most days it feels like doing the right thing for one person/in the bigger picture is perceived as the wrong thing by the others vying for my attention. At the end of the day the score feels like Right 25-Wrong 327.
    Thanks for reminding all of us [me too] that we need to think about ALL of the scenarios when things aren't going out way.
    That smile meant more than you know. <3

  21. I'll be thinking about this as I go see my mother today -- she's just received a hip replacement and is an awful, cranky patient.




    Compassion is hardest when it's fraught with emotional baggage.



  22. Just one smile can inspire compassion. I hope it inspires a compassion revolution. The world reeeeeaaaaallllly needs it!

  23. I heart you Edenland! You rock!

  24. You saw her, you saw him. That's a blessing for you and for them.

  25. These are the beautiful gifted moments in life.

    I feel the universe knows we're tuned in, and are rewarded with glimpses of why we are all in this together.

    I think how sad to miss what is in front of us.

    It's a blessing to be witness to moments that are beyond words.

    Lovely post, Eden.

  26. This post is so wonderful and well-written and exactly the kind of thing we all need to be reminded of. Compassion. Beautiful. Why is everyone always in such a rush?

  27. we should all be more like the nurse even if we have to house ourselves in older cars of compassion.

  28. Sometimes seeing people is enough - you have a very compassionate soul.

  29. Beautiful post. That poor nurse must have been having a hell of a day.
    And the poor man too. I think we can all understand just wanting to run away

  30. What a wonderful story! You are so right, we are all those people.

  31. On my way to the office one morning I was sitting at a light near a nursing home. A little old lady was walking toward me in a bathrobe, slippers, and carrying her "pocketbook" (a purse would imply that it was actually from this century). Since it was about 40°(F) outside I assumed she had walked away. I asked her if she needed a ride (she was walking in the direction away from the home) and she smiled sweetly and told me "that would be lovely". I buckled her in my car, drove to the front entrance of the home, went inside and told them I had found one of their residents. They laughed and said she does that all the time. I wanted to bitchslap someone. They didn't seem the least bit concerned she was walking down a busy road. They are lucky I didn't come back that night and kidnap her, and adopt her as my new grandmother.
    (Sorry, I took your story and made it mine. I am feeling that everything is about me today.)


Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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